The Sargent Voice Issue #113                                        November 25, 2019

Friends and Neighbors,

This is the wonderful time of year where we come together and celebrate family, friendship, and community. This week, we give gratitude for all that we have, and for those in our lives who make it so special. 

I am beyond grateful to have the honor to serve you in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and to represent the amazing people of the 48th District. 

Wishing everyone a joyous and safe holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! 


In Service,

Melissa Sargent
State Representative
48th Assembly District

  DREAMers.jpg (2)

11.12.19: Rep. Sargent speaks at DREAMERs rally in Capitol rotunda. 

Our Democracy Initiatives 

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 
  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 

Healthcare Open Enrollment Happening Now!

The 2020 open enrollment period is happening now! From November 1st through December 15th, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites have the opportunity to select their health insurance coverage for 2020 during the Healthcare.gov open enrollment period.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has now launched, GetCovered.WI.gov to help Wisconsin residents better understand their health care options.

Do you have questions about open enrollment, or know someone who need help getting covered? Visit this link for more information, and help us get more Wisconsinites covered for 2020!

Rotunda Report

East Wing Update

Special Session to Address Gun Violence 

On November 7th, the Wisconsin State Legislature was called by Governor Evers to convene a Special Session to take up two lifesaving pieces of legislation: closing the background check loophole in our state and extreme risk protection orders. However, rather than bringing these bills to the floor and holding meaningful debate, Republicans chose to play partisan games and refuse to debate these crucial measures. 

The Wisconsin GOP continues to put politics before the people. Not only did they continue their obstructionism and refuse to take action to protect our communities from egregious gun violence and firearm-related suicide, but they also wasted taxpayer dollars and time on attempting multiple senesless veto overrides, knowing full well that they would fail. Once again, GOP lawmakers demonstrated their willingness to put partisan tricks above doing what is best for our state. Not only was this a political stunt, but it was truly a waste of time and resources for our state and failed to work to better serve Wisconsinites. 

As a state, we can, and should, do better. This is about coming together, despite our differences, and doing the right thing for our state. I will not stop fighting to bring these pragmatic solutions to Wisconsin.


Executive Order on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Wisconsin can and must do more to ensure that our Government protects against discrimination, promotes diversity, and advances equity and inclusion.

Last week, Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #59 relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our state government. This order calls for state employees at every level to do their small part in recognizing, respecting, and representing historically underrepresented communities, while charging each state agency with developing an equity and inclusion plan.

Additionally, this executive order creates the Governor’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion which will advise the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Secretary of the Department of Administration on ways to improve equity and inclusion for Wisconsinites all across the state. While Wisconsin has a long road to complete inclusion and universal equity, this order is a strong first step in recognizing egregious racial disparities and fundamental injustices.

Thank you Governor Tony Evers for your dedication to rectifying years of injustice and your fight to make Wisconsin a more equitable state!


Call for Release of Homelessness Relief Funds

Housing is a human right– no person should have to go without the basic necessity of shelter or housing security.

Yet, here in Wisconsin, the money that has been allocated for homeless initiatives has been held at the will of politics. These funds, passed in the budget process, have not been released by the Joint Finance Committee due to obstructionism by the GOP-controlled Senate.

This crucial legislation, that has been passed by the Wisconsin State Assembly, would:

  • Provide short-term grants or loans to defray housing costs.
  • Help struggling people find housing.
  • Create more beds at emergency shelters.
  • Pay for skills training to escape homelessness.
  • Assist landlords with repairs to low-cost housing.
  • Expand grants for housing and related services.

I join with Governor Evers in calling on the State Senate and the Joint Finance Committee to release these funds and to do the right thing for our state.


Legislative Agenda

Paid Leave for Wisconsin

Wisconsin workers are the backbone of our society, and should not have to fear for their financial well-being because of unexpected family emergencies.

It is well past time for our state, and our nation, to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world, and the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Insurance Act proves to be crucial in rectifying years of injustice.

In fact, the United States as a whole is the only industrialized country in the world that has yet to take meaningful action in ensuring this fundamental right. With the current status of our Wisconsin workforce, many of our most valuable members of society cannot afford to take the leave they need without risking their economic security. By not having the necessary safety blanket of paid family leave, Wisconsinites are forced to choose between sustaining their, or their family’s physical and mental well-being or their economic security.

The Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Insurance Act looks to rectify years of injustice in Wisconsin by expanding family and medical leave law to allow an employee to take family leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild, or sibling. Additionally, this legislation creates a family and medical leave insurance program, to be administered by the Department of Workforce Development, under which a covered individual who is on family or medical leave can receive up to 12 weeks of family or medical leave insurance benefits.

I am proud to be a cosponsor on this crucial legislation, and continue to advocate for policies that move Wisconsin families and workers forward.



Wisconsin has the opportunity to be the hemp and cannabis hub of the Midwest, as demonstrated by the booming and successful hemp industry that has already begun in our state thanks to the Wisconsin Hemp Pilot Research Program. With Wisconsin’s rich farming heritage, in addition to its innovative entrepreneurs and business owners, Wisconsin has a long history of getting things done and being a pioneering leader for our nation.

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.

The stunning positive impact of hemp production in our state proves that Wisconsin is the perfect site for full-cannabis legalization. With Wisconsin’s strong agricultural roots and hardworking mindset, our state has the landscape and dedicated labor force to be the forefront of cannabis innovation and production. Fortunately, this month, the Wisconsin State Assembly voted for the passage of AB-206, a bipartisan bill to update and address some of the obstacles being faced in the hemp industry. This legislation is an important step in assisting our state’s farmers and workers and moving the cannabis industry forward.

The fact of the matter is, that the legislation I have introduced to fully legalize cannabis in Wisconsin– AB 220– will bring a vastly profitable sector for our agricultural capabilities and producers, and will only further the remarkable successes our state has seen within the hemp program.

The future of Wisconsin agriculture rests on our state’s cannabis production, and I am proud to be a co-sponsor on AB-206 to further address the obstacles the hardworking farmers and entrepreneurs are facing. Cannabis is bringing, and will continue to bring, many opportunities to our state, and I look forward to Wisconsin taking further steps to legalize opportunity in our state.


Diabetes Prevention & Care

November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on the lives of millions of Americans.

Diabetes is a disease that deeply impacts the lives of so many people in our state. Not only does diabetes impact the 362,500 people diagnosed in Wisconsin, but another 138,000 people in our state who live undiagnosed and an additional 1.5 million people who are currently living with prediabetes– 99% of whom are unaware of their condition.

For those of us who do not live with diabetes or prediabetes, 40% of us, or 2 in 5, will develop type 2 diabetes in our lifetimes. On top of these frightening statistics, are the numerous family members, friends, and colleagues, who we each know, that undergo the stresses of living with and managing diabetes every single day.

Working to reduce, prevent, and better manage diabetes in our state will improve the lives of numerous Wisconsin residents, and save lives. As such, I am proud to work on legislation that works to educate, reduce, and prevent diabetes in our state, in addition to easing burdens and access to care for those living with diabetes.

If you are looking for more education on diabetes or prevention tools to keep yourself healthy, check out the American Diabetes Association website at diabetes.org for a variety of resources! Also be sure to talk with your doctor at your next visit to discuss potential risks and preventative measures.


Community and In-District Events

DREAMers Rally at the State Capitol

November 12, 2019: It was my honor to join the brave DREAMers and supporters as they came to the Capitol to advocate in light of the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding DACA- a case that would drastically impact the nearly 8,000 DREAMers here in Wisconsin.

We have a responsibility to continue speaking out and being vigilant for immigrants in our country. I have been, and will continue to be, outspoken about treating all people with dignity, compassion, and respect that they deserve. Thank you to Voces de la Frontera for organizing this event, and for all of the courageous individuals who came to the Capitol to make your voices be heard!


GridEx V Exercise

November 14, 2019: This month I had the opportunity to join the Wisconsin Department of Military Affiar’s (DMA) Emergency Management Division to learn more about emergency preparedness and disaster relief efforts in our state. Whether it be a natural disaster, or a cyber or physical threat, the people behind the scenes are hard at work to ensure that Wisconsin has a plan and is protected in case of emergency. Thank you to DMA and the many other actors across our state, who are working to keep us safe!


Dane County Regional Airport Tour

November 15, 2019: Last week my office had the opportunity to visit the Dane County Regional Airport and see firsthand the amazing operations of the hardworking people behind the scenes. From TSA agents and airplane refuelers to food vendors and custodial staff, the Dane County Airport employs 6,500 people and provides crucial economic opportunities for our region.

Additionally, the Airport ensures transportation for our community, state, and nation. With 5 airlines and 19 year-round and seasonal destinations, the Airport provides services to 2 million passengers each year. Further, the Airport has been leading on innovative efforts in sustainability and consumer services. Thank you Director Jones for an informative tour and all you do for our community!


Class Visits

November 2019: November has been a busy month for class visits of all sorts! Classrooms are the cornerstones of our communities, and provide a vital place of learning, growth, and opportunity for students of all ages. Thank you to the following schools, educators, and classes, for inviting me to visit and share:

  • Shabazz High School
  • Edgewood College Nursing program 
  • UW-Platteville Gender & Sexuality Studies class
  • UW-Madison School of Social Work Social Policy class
  • UW-Madison African American Studies class
  • Sennett Middle School AVID class
  • Allis Elementary School 4th graders


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 - November 03, 2019 - Rep Melissa Sargent: We can overcome our differences and do the right thing with gun laws in Wisconsin


Channel 3000 - November 09, 2019 - Wisconsinites use cannabis as a medicine, but research and the law are not yet on their side 


NBC 15 - November 12, 2019 - Students, activists gather at State Capitol to support DACA

Madison 365 - November 13, 2019 - Hundreds of Students March, Rally at State Capitol to Defend DACA


Special Highlight!

Ending the Backlog of Sexual Assault Kits in Wisconsin

Last week, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that the remainder of the sexual assault kit backlog has been tested. After years of failures that resulted in thousands of kits not being submitted for testing— and thousands of sexual assault survivors left with no answers— this egregious back log has come to an end. I commend Attorney General Kaul, the DOJ, and the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, for their tireless efforts over the last six months, and the countless others who have worked on behalf of survivors over the years. This is a crucial milestone in the fight for justice for survivors.

Further, DOJ announced that Wisconsin has been awarded a $1.8 million grant to continue their critical work on sexual assault cases in Wisconsin, and to fund a statewide kit tracking system. This is imperative to maintaining Wisconsin’s current successes, and in preventing a future backlog from occurring. Additionally, a kit tracking system allows sexual assault survivors an anonymous and private way to track and receive updates about the status of their sexual assault kit, and provides them with the timely and accurate updates that they deserve.

While this is great news for our state, there is plenty of work left to be done. Assembly Bill 214, a bipartisan effort to prevent a backlog from ever occurring again in Wisconsin, and that is supported by over 50 legislators, law enforcement, health professionals, advocates, and survivors alike, remains stalled in the Wisconsin State Assembly. While this legislation has passed the Senate unanimously by voice vote, it has failed to receive a public hearing in the Assembly, and as such has not made it to the floor for the vote it deserves. AB-214 works to create and codify timelines for the collection, submission, and storing of kits, honoring the dignity of survivors and providing further pathways to justice. It is vital that this legislation be passed to continue to help the survivors of sexual violence in our state, and I call on Speaker Vos and the Assembly Committee on Health to take up this vital legislation.

Wisconsin must do all that we can to support survivors of sexual assault and to prevent future occurrences of sexual assault. I am proud to continue fighting for survivors of past and future instances of sexual violence, and to stand with survivors for the essential rights that they deserve.


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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