The Sargent Voice Issue #112                                        November 01, 2019

Friends and Neighbors,

Across the country, November is recognized as National Runaway Prevention Month to promote awareness and bring visibility to a persistent crisis impacting our nation. Tragically, our country has witnessed an alarming increase in runaway, homeless, and unaccompanied youth who are not being cared for by a parent, guardian, legal custodian, and do not have an adequate nighttime residence.

According to the National Runaway Safeline data, in a year, between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home nationwide. Other studies have shown that one in seven children between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away at some point. These homeless and unaccompanied youth are at a higher risk for human trafficking, sexual exploitation, mental health issues, substance abuse, and death. Furthermore, according to our state’s Department of Public Instruction’s data on homeless children and youth, 2,450 enrolled Wisconsin students are homeless and unaccompanied.

Awareness and education are absolutely crucial in addressing and preventing youth homelessness in Wisconsin. Year after year, we continue to see disturbing trends in increases in homeless and runaway youth populations. The first step in addressing this quiet crisis is educating, raising awareness, and bringing visibility to the youth experiencing these harsh circumstances on a daily basis. 

As such, it is my honor to introduce a bipartisan Assembly Joint Resolution in order to promote action to address Wisconsin’s youth homeless and runaway crisis by recognizing November as Runaway Prevention Month in Wisconsin!


In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District


Rep. Melissa Sargent doing legislative doors in the Fightin’ 48th Assembly District

Our Democracy Initiatives 

What's Happening in 11-North?

Now Seeking Interns for Winter/Spring 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 Winter/Spring term? We are now accepting new applicants!

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


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 
  2. Wisconsin Road Map, laminated
  3. 2019-2020 Wisconsin Road Maps, folded for travel

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!


District Update 
Proposed F-35As 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-35As aircrafts by the United States Air National Guard. Today, November 1st, marks the end of the public comment period before the final decision is made. 

To make your voice heard on this issue, please submit any final thoughts to the National Guard Bureau by the end of the day today at: http://www.angf35eis.com/Comments.aspx  
Rotunda Report
East Wing Update

Special Session

This month Governor Tony Evers called for a Special Session to address gun violence in our state, to take place on November 7th. Yet, Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, refuse to even give consideration to allow debate and conversation on the topic. In fact, Fitzgerald said his intention is to convene the special session and then immediately adjourn it, without taking any action at all.

Like Governor Tony Evers, I know that too many lives have been cut short by the horrors of gun violence and suicide, and too many others forever changed. The time for action is now, and I commend Governor Evers for his brave call upon the Wisconsin State Legislature to take meaningful steps to combat this growing public health crisis. 

Over 80% of Wisconsinites, including gun owners, support closing the background check loophole and implementing Extreme Risk Protection Orders in our state. This is why those on the front lines— including business owners, gun shops, counties and municipalities, law enforcement, and more— have been calling on our State Legislature to act.

We all have been impacted by gun violence in some way, and we certainly all know many others who have as well. The fact is, that people in our state are dying. Yet, partisan antics here in the state Capitol have continued to work to keep us divided and prevent us from enacting the will of the people of our state— or even to debate these topics. Governor Evers’ call for a Special Session to address gun violence is also a call to put partisan bickering and divides aside, and to prioritize what truly matters— that lives are being lost, and immediate action is needed.

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 cannot wait to take action until the gun violence epidemic strikes Wisconsin again. This issue is one of life and death. It transcends any party lines, or partisan divides. And it is worth rolling up our sleeves, coming to the table together, discussing our differences, and taking meaningful steps to combat gun violence in our state.


Task Force on Climate Change 

For too long leaders have ignored, or denied, Climate Change and frankly, we know we can't afford to continue this trend. We need to build a sustainable future for the state of Wisconsin. This month Governor Evers signed Executive Order #52 to create a Task Force on Climate Change. Through this task force, the Governor is putting forth a collaborative effort with individuals from all around Wisconsin, who will make recommendations on how our state combats the effects of climate change.

Thank you Governor Evers for your work to combat Climate Change, keep our communities safe, and ensure a prosperous Wisconsin for generations to come!



Declaring October 18th as Wisconsin Hemp Day

The future of Wisconsin agriculture rests on our state’s cannabis production.

Historically, hemp production in Wisconsin has been a crucial part of our collective identity and brought unprecedented economic stability to our diverse communities. After years of mindless federal prohibition, hemp is once again becoming a vital aspect of our growing state. From personal care products to sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics, Wisconsin is starting a new chapter in our states development-- one that relies on hemp production.

Hemp is a versatile crop that provides numerous benefits to the state of Wisconsin and new opportunities for our agricultural industry. I commend Governor Evers’ recognition of October 18th, 2019 as Wisconsin Hemp Day along with his acknowledgment that Hemp has moved out state forward in unprecedented ways.

Additionally, hemp licensing applications and registrations are available for the 2020 Wisconsin growing season starting today! The deadline for current licensees to renew their registration is March 1, 2020. You can apply here! 



Legislative Agenda

Child Care Tax Credit

This week I was proud to introduce LRB-3361/1, which creates a tax credit for child care costs for hardworking Wisconsin families.

Everyone in our nation deserves to have an affordable and quality child care option for their children. Child care is absolutely critical for the early education and development of our children, and shape our country’s future leaders. Further, child care lays the foundation of success for our kids, while also ensuring that parents can remain in the workforce and continue to provide for their families.

However, rising child care costs continue to be a major concern across our nation, and unfortunately, right here in our state. In fact, Wisconsin remains ranked in the top 15 states for most expensive infant and child care in the United States, with infant care costing more than even college tuition.

Wisconsin families are spending a colossal, and quite frankly unacceptable, amount of their annual incomes on child care. No parent should ever have to choose between entering the workforce to provide for their family, and staying home to save money on child care costs. No parent should be forced to choose insufficient, or even unsafe, child care options for their kids due to unaffordability. Yet, these are the realities that Wisconsin families continue to face.

Early childhood care and education benefits children, parents, the workforce, the economy, and our state’s future. LRB-3366/1 will ensure that Wisconsin’s youngest learners have the opportunity to succeed, and that Wisconsin’s parents do not continue to struggle as they work hard to ensure their child’s success.

I am proud to stand with Wisconsin’s working families!


Impersonating a Public Official 

This week I also had the opportunity to testify before members of the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety on Assembly Bill 545, a bill I introduced which would close an egregious loophole in our state statutes to prevent individuals from impersonation.

A number of years ago, I was informed by a trusted member of our community that there was an individual who was using a false title to go to local businesses and facilities and request tours and discounts on services. This individual was using the title of “State Representative” to advance themselves and deceive the hard-working people of our community. Yet, after speaking to local law enforcement and attorneys, I learned that due to a loophole in Wisconsin law, this individual would face no consequences.

AB 545 makes it a Class I felony to represent oneself as a public official or employee with the intent to mislead others into believing that they are actually a public official, and closes an absurd loophole in our statutes that is well overdue. This bipartisan legislation puts our community members first, ensuring that local businesses are not taken advantage of and that scammers face necessary repercussions.

Thank you to Representative Ott, Senator Jacque, and Senator Miller for your bipartisan collaboration on this issue!


Noise Mitigation 

As our country’s airport infrastructure expands and diversifies, many of our community’s residents are increasingly subjected to burdensome instances of aviation noise. Excessive aviation noise can often times lead to individual distress, disruption of sleep, adverse effects on the academic performance of children, and increased risks of cardiovascular disease among people living near airports.

Over the past few months I have been contacted by many community members regarding concerns with the current status of aviation noise associated with F16 and commercial airline operations at Truax Field, while also expressing concerns that this noise will be increasingly detrimental should the F35A operational beddown occur in Madison. In hearing from our community members, it is clear that we must pursue pragmatic solutions to aviation noise.

This month, I released LRB-4865 which sets out to mitigate instances of excessive aviation noise in Wisconsin by requiring the Department of Transportation to develop and administer an airport sound mitigation grant program, which must prioritize projects involving schools and child care centers. Any project that is eligible for a federal airport sound mitigation grant is not eligible for a grant under this program. The institution of a noise mitigation grant program proves to be a proactive safety net for our community should the proposed F-35A operation occur at Truax Field. In addition to helping fill the potential gaps of FAA noise mitigation for this proposal, should the F-35A not be placed in Madison, this legislation will address current aviation noise concerns associated with existing commercial and F-16 operations.

Community and In-District Events

Community Listening Sessions

October 18th & 24th, 2019: Our government doesn't run without hearing from the voices of those who matter most-- the hardworking people I have the honor to represent. I cannot do my job without you, and truly value hearing from you. As such, it was an honor to hold two recent listening sessions in local businesses in the 48th Assembly District! It was great to meet new constituents and hear from them about what issues matter most to them. Watch out for upcoming listening sessions to be announced in the near future!


Citation of Commendation Presented to Mendota Teacher

October 21, 2019: Last week I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Alexis Dean, a dedicated and passionate teacher at Mendota Community School, and present him with a citation of commendation from the state of Wisconsin for his accomplishments.

Mr. Dean was recognized at the state and national level for his service as an outstanding AmeriCorps Serve Wisconsin member. His exceptional dedication and service has given unparalleled joy, enthusiasm, and inspiration to students, staff, and our community alike.

Teachers like Mr. Dean are our future, as they educate and lead the next generation of Wisconsinites. Thank you Mr. Dean for your hard work, and your commitment to bettering the lives of students and our community.


Candy at the Capitol 

October 23, 2019: During Downtown Madison' Family Halloween event, I had the pleasure to welcome families and kids into my office for trick-or-treating fun. It was a fa-boo-lous time! Thanks to all of those who stopped in to say hello.

WAVE Advocacy Day

October 24, 2019:  I had the pleasure to kick off the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) advocacy day, and to discuss why we as a state must enact pragmatic firearm safety policies that work to keep our communities safe and prevent further tragedies from occurring. Thank you WAVE for having me, and for crucial advocacy efforts!


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

WORT - October 21, 2019 - Gov. Evers Calls Special Session For Gun Violence Prevention

The Badger Herald - October 22, 2019 - Democrats to pursue key issues in fall Wisconsin legislative session

WUWM - October 23, 2019 - Is Wisconsin Missing Out On the Money By Not Legalizing Marijuana?

WUWM - October 23, 2019 - Legalizing Marijuana: Where Wisconsin Lawmakers Stand

The Cap. Times - October 27, 2019 - Rep. Melissa Sargent: Hygiene product accessibility matters, period.

Milwaukee Independent - October 28, 2019 - Wisconsinites visit state legislatures on WAVE’s Day of Action to demand gun violence prevention laws


Special Highlight!

Hygiene Product Accessibility Matters, Period. 

Read below an excerpt from an opinion piece I wrote, posted by the Cap Times this past weekend (You can read the entire article here):

“On October 19th, we celebrated the first annual National Period Day. It was my honor to stand in unity with the movement of young people and others from across our nation together to rally in efforts to promote awareness, equality, and justice for all people who menstruate. These young student organizers recognize the fact that menstrual hygiene products are necessities, not luxuries, and that those who menstruate here in Wisconsin should not have to continue to face the undue and unjust burdens of inaccessibility to, and unaffordability of, essential hygiene products.

It is well past time for the conversation of hygiene product accessibility and equality to be brought to the forefront. The unfortunate reality is that, right here in Wisconsin, many people continue to lack access to and have the ability to afford menstrual products. In our state, people who menstruate face an unjust tax burden on menstrual products, which are seen as a "luxury item," and more often than not do not have access to menstrual products in public restrooms- including schools and government owned buildings. According to Wisconsin tax code, food, electricity, and prescription medication, are not subject to sales tax, as they are deemed necessities. At the same time, items such as potato chips, Kit Kats, Viagra, and gym memberships are also not subject to state sales tax, yet hygiene products continue to face unjust taxation. Additionally, there are no other examples that represent such a clear gender-based tax.

No individual should have to be without menstrual products when they are in need. As such, I am proud to continue to sponsor legislation that takes crucial steps in helping to bring menstrual equality to Wisconsin by providing menstrual products in state, local, and school building, and ending the unjust “tampon tax”. It is past time that we have legislation that works towards gender equality and justice for people who menstruate.

We must do more to ensure equality for those who menstruate, to reduce the stigma around periods, and to bring awareness to this issue. I am committed to being an outspoken leader fighting for menstrual equality because I know that in order to have a fully equitable society, we must have laws and policies that take into account the reality that half the population menstruates. I am beyond proud to continue to work for a more fair, just, and equitable Wisconsin.

Menstruation should not be a factor that holds anyone back, period."


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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