12/30/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Looking Forward to the Challenges of 2016 “I spent all day trying to get an ID for my mother,” Joe from Union Township told me. His mother, age 84, recently gave up her driver’s license because of a vision problem. She’d moved into an apartment in Eau Claire.
12/30/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Looking forward to 2016" LA CROSSE – Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Shilling reflects on the past year and looking forward to 2016.
12/29/2015
Senator Lassa Column: New Year Resolutions for a Better Wisconsin As the old year ends and the new one begins, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Reflecting on the state of Wisconsin as we enter 2016, it seemed to me that government leaders could also stand to adopt New Year’s resolutions of their own, to address our growing challenges and return to our traditional values.
12/23/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Looking Back on 2015 Happy Holidays! While Santa is making a list of who is naughty and nice, I spent time making a list of what folks cared about enough to call or write. I am always impressed by how many people take the time to become engaged in their government. “Democracy” is truly a verb for the 7,007 individual people who communicated with me in 2015. Many offered their opinion not once but several times. My office recorded a total of 15,811 contacts with citizens.
12/23/2015
Senator Hansen: Feds Extend SeniorCare Through 2018 (Madison)—The federal government recently notified the state Department of Health Services that Wisconsin’s waiver to renew SeniorCare through December 31, 2018 has been approved. The approval is good news for the more than 85,000 people who are currently enrolled in the popular prescription drug savings program.
12/22/2015
Senator Lassa Column: New UI Rules Hurt Seasonal Workers, Employers The end of the year is a time when many individuals experience temporary layoffs. Construction companies, trucking firms, and manufacturers in seasonal industries often lay employees off for short periods, intending to hire them back again in a few weeks or months when business picks up.
12/18/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on Latest Open Record Scandal MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released the following statement after news reports exposed that top Walker aides encouraged communicating official business through private channels to limit public access:
12/18/2015
Senator Shilling: What will it take to get Republican leaders to intervene? MADISON – While the scandal surrounding Lincoln Hills continues to unfold, Senate Republicans are refusing to investigate the serious allegations that have been raised at the juvenile facility. Committee Chair Sen. Van Waanggard (R-Racine) has refused a request from Senate Democrats to hold an informational hearing and uncover whether similar situations exist in other state facilities.
12/17/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Bills address looming workforce crisis" STEVENS POINT, WI – Today, Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) offered the Democratic weekly radio address on building Wisconsin's skilled workforce.
12/16/2015
Senator Ringhand Column: Looking Forward to 2016 While out shopping for the holidays, I hear over and over again that it sure doesn’t feel like Christmas. While the temperature might say otherwise, Christmas remains the season to share good times and hopes for a better future with our family and friends.
12/16/2015
Senator Lassa: Governor Signs Bipartisan Sexual Assault Bill Madison — A bill that increases the time for reporting cases of sexual assault, sponsored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was signed into law by Governor Walker at the State Capitol today.
12/16/2015
Senator Shilling: Intimidated by public opposition, Gov. Walker signs political corruption bills in private MADISON – Two controversial Republican bills to dismantle the Government Accountability Board and increase special interest campaign influence were quietly signed into law by Gov. Walker today. Rather than signing these bills in public, Gov. Walker attempted to hide his actions by blocking media access and signing these bills behind closed doors.
12/16/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Seniors React: Don’t Take My Home Phone Away! “I was furious,” said Cindy from Chippewa Falls. “I wouldn’t have stayed on the phone this long with this dinky cell phone.” She just found out state law allowed phone companies to dump their landline customers.
12/16/2015
Senator Lassa: Workforce Focus will Use Debt Relief to Build Skilled Workforce As a member of the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment, I got to participate in an extremely in-depth examination of Wisconsin’s workforce trends. The outcome of that process was a four-year strategic plan to address our state’s growing demand for skilled talent – and a shrinking supply that is only predicted to get worse as the Baby Boom generation continues to retire.
12/15/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Walker Policy to Cost WI Taxpayers $1.07 Billion in Next Six Years Madison – Wisconsin can do better for our citizens and taxpayers, was the message from Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) today as he renewed his call for Governor Walker to accept Wisconsin’s fair share of Federal funds for Medicaid. Erpenbach, a member of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, released a new memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau outlining the costs for Wisconsin taxpayers over the next six years because of Walker’s failure to act.
12/15/2015
Senator Shilling: Wisconsin eligible for $1 billion in taxpayer savings MADISON – Accepting available federal dollars for Wisconsin’s BadgerCare program would generate more than $1 billion in state taxpayer savings over the next six years according to updated projections from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB). The new estimates are welcome news for supporters of the proposed BadgerCare expansion who argue the savings are needed to restore recent school and infrastructure funding cuts.
12/11/2015
Senator Hansen: Months Have Passed Since Governor Walker Said He Would Repay Taxpayers (Madison)—Nearly three months have passed since Governor Walker ended his presidential campaign and since he promised to repay state taxpayers for costs incurred during his presidential campaign. As homeowners and small businesses begin receiving their property tax bills, the outstanding debt racked up by Governor Walker’s presidential campaign has largely gone unpaid.
12/11/2015
Senator Bewley Column: Over the River and Through the Woods Although we might not have a lot of snow on the ground, it is that time of year again. Like many of you, I recently went out and cut a Christmas tree. For many people in the southern part of the state, that is the closest they’ll come to a firsthand experience of Wisconsin’s Forestry Industry. Forestry is the number one employer in Iron and Price Counties and one of the 10 largest employers in Ashland, Barron, Sawyer, and Washburn Counties.
12/10/2015
Senator Hansen: Private Pension Plan Receives Senate Hearing (Madison)—Legislation that would create a pension plan for private workers and business owners similar to the popular Wisconsin Retirement System received a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform today. The plan is being offered as a way to address a looming retirement crisis that could see more retirees living in poverty and having to rely on government assistance to help pay for basic needs.
12/10/2015
Senator Shilling: Workers hopeful as Dem bill to improve retirement security advances MADISON – A key Democratic proposal to improve retirement security is scheduled to receive a public hearing this morning in the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform.
12/10/2015
Senator Erpenbach Column: It’s that Time of Year: Consumers Beware! Maybe it is our strong work ethic because Wisconsin consumers expect to get what we pay for. From services and food monitored and regulated by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to the Consumer Act enforced by the Department of Justice, Wisconsin’s consumer laws are a model for many other states and remain one of the most comprehensive laws in the nation.
12/9/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: What to Do About Those Pesky Unwanted Calls “I’ve been getting a lot of calls from blocked and private numbers,” Pat from rural Hixton told me. “We called the phone company and asked them to stop those calls, but I’m not sure what else we can do”. Pat told me many of the calls asked her to change her credit cards to a “better deal”.
12/8/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Be a Wise Giver during the Holidays The holiday season is the busiest time of year for charitable giving. According to the Center on Philanthropy, the average person makes 24 percent of their annual donations between Thanksgiving and New Year's. It’s a time when those in need are in our thoughts, and when we may also be interested in donating to charity before the end of the tax year. It’s not surprising, then, that solicitations for various good causes fill our mailboxes, phone lines and email inboxes in December.
12/8/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on investigation into Gov. Walker's Dept. of Corrections MADISON – Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement regarding the criminal investigation into ‘mistreatment of youth’ in Gov. Walker’s Department of Corrections:
12/7/2015
Senator Hansen: Private Pension Bill to Receive Public Hearing (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced today that legislation that would make it possible for workers and employers in the private sector to access a private pension plan similar to what public employees and elected officials receive will receive a public hearing this Thursday, December 10th State Capitol. Senate Bill 45 would create a pension plan for private workers, small businesses and farmers that would be based on the Wisconsin Retirement System.
12/3/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Giving Back This Holiday Season" MADISON – Today, Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) offered the following weekly Democratic radio address on giving back to the community this holiday season.
12/2/2015
Senator Hansen: Johnson Controls Just Latest Example of Need for Bill Banning Outsourcing (Madison)—Recent reports that Johnson Controls will outsource 277 Wisconsin jobs despite posting record profits and receiving over $2.4 million in state taxpayer-funded tax credits is yet another example of the need to ban companies that outsource Wisconsin jobs from receiving any kind of state taxpayer assistance said State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay).
12/2/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Changes for Work and Workers In the “Gig Economy” “If my company followed the rules, they couldn’t survive,” my niece Becky told me as we traveled home from our “Small Business Saturday” shopping trip. Small retail businesses are owned by local folks and regularly use local workers. The money we spend in our local communities usually stays local.
12/1/2015
Hansen and Genrich introduce Groundwater Protection Bill Today, State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representative Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay) announced plans to introduce legislation to protect the public’s drinking water from contamination resulting from the rapid expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in rural areas where the makeup of the land cannot support high volume manure spreading.
12/1/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Remember the Troops and their Families at the Holidays As we enter another holiday season, it’s a good time to pause from our busy preparations to remember the men and women who serve in our nation’s military. More than 150,000 active-duty U.S. troops are stationed in 150 countries around the world, with hundreds of thousands more at stateside bases that may be very far from home.
11/25/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Enjoying Thanksgiving on the Farm Tundra Swans arrived Friday. These magnificent birds spend a brief time in Buffalo County on their way from the tundra of Canada and Alaska to their wintering grounds on the East Coast. The brilliant, white birds with a 6 1/2’ wingspan are migrants through our valley. They love the swamps and back waters. And when they gather they are very social.
11/23/2015
Senator Lassa: GROW Wisconsin Bill Would Attract Skilled Employees to Rural Communities MADISON - A bipartisan group of legislators have introduced a bill that would address Wisconsin’s rural workforce shortage by offering student loan relief to college grads who move to rural communities.
11/23/2015
Senator Larson: Statement on Drunk Driving Prevention Act Madison, WI – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding the Drunk Driving Prevention Act, circulating for co-sponsorship as LRB 3902. This proposed legislation would require ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for all first-time OWI offenders.
11/23/2015
Senator Hansen: Call for Committee Vote on Higher Ed Lower Debt Bill (Madison)—Responding to a recent Marquette University poll showing 61% of Wisconsin residents support giving people the ability to refinance their student loan debt, State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) are calling for the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges to hold a vote on their Higher Ed/Lower Debt bill (HELD).
11/20/2015
Senator Shilling: Republican WEDC illegally gave out $21 million in taxpayer dollars MADISON – After years of scandals at Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a new investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that the troubled agency exceeded its authority and improperly awarded more than $21 million in taxpayer funding to businesses and Gov. Walker campaign contributors.
11/19/2015
Senator Hansen: Enough is Enough - There is no way to fix WEDC—Shut it Down (Madison)—Amid new reports that Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation continues to give taxpayer dollars to help corporations downsize Wisconsin jobs and flout state law, Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said the agency is too far gone to save.
11/19/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Patients Reproductive Health Care Act Announced Madison – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison), with patients and medical professionals at their side, unveiled an unprecedented, proactive initiative that protects patients and their healthcare providers, ensures access to comprehensive health care services and medically accurate information, and upholds the integrity of medicine.
11/19/2015
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Have a successful hunting season!" MADISON – Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Miller discusses ways to find more information about hunter safety and deer registration.
11/18/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Wisconsin Report Card Provides Info on Progress, Problems “My son’s grades improved at report card time,” Mari told me. Her son struggled in school for many years. “We had a great teacher conference. He got mostly Bs and Cs – which was an improvement.” Wisconsin recently got its own report card. Our state also got mostly Bs and Cs. Although in several cases, these scores represent benchmarks that are not improving.
11/17/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Preserving Wisconsin’s Hunting Heritage The start of the traditional gun deer hunting season in Wisconsin reminds us all about the importance of hunting to Wisconsin’s culture and economy. The last National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife reported that Wisconsin had 763,384 resident hunters, the second highest total of any state, including much more populous states like New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. All hunting-related expenditures in Wisconsin totaled $2.5 billion.
11/17/2015
Senator Ringhand Column: The Commission on Government Reform, Efficiency and Performance On November 3, Governor Walker signed Executive Order #179 to create the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform, Efficiency and Performance. The goal of the commission is to explore ways to increase efficiency and look for better ways to operate state government.
11/16/2015
Senator Lassa: Bipartisan Sexual Assault Bill Passes Assembly Madison — A bill that increases the time for reporting cases of sexual assault, sponsored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), passed the Wisconsin Assembly on a 91 to 1 vote today. The bill passed the State Senate on November 6; today’s vote sends the bill to the Governor for his signature.
11/13/2015
Senator Bewley: Bill for Retired Law Enforcement Officers Signed into Law Madison – State Senator Janet Bewley’s (D-Delta) proposal to fix an oversight in the Concealed Carry Legislation which passed in 2011 was signed into law this week by Governor Walker. Senator Bewley was joined at the Bill Signing Ceremony by her constituent, Paul Stein of Maple Wisconsin, who brought the issue to her attention.
11/12/2015
Senator Hansen: WEDC Anti-Corporate Fraud Legislation (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representatives Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) and Chris Taylor (D-Madison) introduced legislation today that would make corporate welfare fraud a felony and also create a WEDC specific waste, fraud and abuse hotline to better identify and penalize businesses and their owners who commit fraud when applying for state economic development assistance.
11/11/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Friday Night in Madison It was Friday night at 5:00 pm. Most people were leaving work and looking forward to the weekend. Maybe they headed to see friends and family at the fish fry or watch the prep football playoffs. At that same hour, Senators received details on two very important bills. Legislation that rewrote laws related to elections, campaign finance, lobbying and the ethics of elected officials.
11/11/2015
Senator Shilling: Holiday Mail for Heroes LA CROSSE, WI – Being apart from friends and family over the holidays is never easy. The American Red Cross “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program is the perfect opportunity for individuals to send thanks and season’s greetings to Wisconsin veterans and service members deployed across the world.
11/10/2015
Senator Lassa Column: “Stand Down” Event Spotlights Help for Veterans Last week, I was pleased to once again participate in the “Wisconsin Rapids Stand Down,” a November 5 event in Wisconsin Rapids designed to acquaint veterans with the resources they have earned through their service to our country. The event, sponsored by the Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc., the Tomah VA Medical Center, and the Wood County Veteran Service Officer, is one of a number of similar events held in La Crosse and elsewhere around the state.
11/10/2015
Senator Larson: Ensuring Wisconsin Workers Receive Fair Wages MADISON – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding raising the minimum wage for Wisconsin workers. “Wisconsin was once a state that protected and prioritized its workers. Under Walker’s Wisconsin we are seeing stagnant wages, a shrinking middle class, and businesses fleeing our state. What’s more, we are one of the bottom 15 states in the nation that have a minimum wage at the federal minimum.
11/10/2015
Senator Hansen: Call on GOP Presidential Hopefuls to Address Student Loan Debt Crisis MADISON –Wisconsin will step into the spotlight on prime-time television as Republican presidential hopefuls take the stage in Milwaukee for tonight’s presidential primary debate. As viewers look for a substantive debate on the issues, Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) call upon the primary candidates to state their positions on the $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis facing 43 million Americans.
11/9/2015
Senator Shilling: Call for rail safety improvements LA CROSSE, WI – Rail safety improvements are needed to prevent train derailments and protect local communities from potentially catastrophic accidents. That is the message from Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) who have been working for months on legislation to improve rail safety and bolster emergency response services.
11/7/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on passage of dismantling of GAB and campaign finance deform bills “Republicans have dismantled a transparent and accountable Legislature. In a week when thousands of people have lost their jobs in Wisconsin, did Republicans call us in to find creative ways to stop the bleeding of jobs in Wisconsin? Or to provide retraining to those workers? No. The State Senate was called into “extraordinary” session on Friday not to help anyone find a job, but rather help Republicans keep their jobs.”
11/7/2015
Senator Larson: GOP Leaders Opening the Floodgates for Corruption, Collusion, and Corporate Cash MADISON – The following is a statement from Senator Chris Larson on Republican leadership blowing open the doors for more political corruption in Wisconsin. “Late on an unusual Friday night session, Republican leaders were able to strong-arm enough votes to pass bills to politicize the Government Accountability Board and allow an avalanche of special interest money to flow to political parties; burying Wisconsin’s principles and values under a mountain of dark money.
11/7/2015
Senator Miller: GAB Obituary Madison – “The Government Accountability Board (GAB), age 8, died on November 7, 2015, after a long battle with Republican lawmakers and special interest lobbyists. The Government Accountability Board was born February 2, 2007 to a proud group of legislators focused on a fair and ethical elections process. Wisconsinites were deserving of the impartial, nonpartisan oversight of their elections and will mourn the loss of the GAB.
11/7/2015
Senator Bewley: Extraordinary Session Protects Politicians, Ignores the Public The people of Wisconsin deserved better than the bills that were rushed through during the State Senate’s “extraordinary” session late last evening.
11/6/2015
Senator Shilling: Layoffs mount as GOP attacks government accountability MADISON – Wisconsin residents will have less access to information about who is influencing campaigns under a new bill being rushed through by legislative Republicans
11/6/2015
Senator Lassa: Statement on Campaign Finance, GAB bills MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to today’s immanent passage by the Senate of Assembly Bill 387, which dramatically expands unregulated political contributions, and Assembly Bill 388, which abolishes the non-partisan agency that regulates ethics and elections in Wisconsin:
11/6/2015
Senator Lassa: Bipartisan Sexual Assault Bill Passes Senate Madison — A bill that increases the time for reporting cases of sexual assault, sponsored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), passed the Wisconsin Senate unanimously today.
11/6/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Veterans in Need Should Have Opportunities for Mental Health Care There is not one of us that does not want to do something to serve veterans like they have served our country. We are seeking action on a new Legislative proposal to assist veterans and their families when they need help.
11/5/2015
Weekly Democratic Radio Address: "Keeping Wisconsin roads safe" MADISON – Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Ringhand applauded Democratic legislators for approving immediate infrastructure investments while urging leaders to work toward a long-term transportation funding solution.
11/4/2015
Senator Ringhand: Statement on the Joint Committee on Finance action today Today, the Joint Committee on Finance approved releasing $350 million in additional transportation funding and approved Assembly Bill 453, a proposal that would require the Department of Health Services to expand Family Care and IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) programs to Rock County.
11/4/2015
Senator Miller: Statement on Closure of Oscar Mayer Plant in Madison Madison – “Kraft Heinz – Oscar Mayer closing their plant in Madison is a crushing loss to our community and our great state. Oscar Mayer has been a fixture in our community for over 100 years.
11/4/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on the closing of Oscar Mayer in Madison “I am devastated for the hard working men and women of the greater Madison area that have given their professional lives to Oscar Meyer. The effect of this plant closing on the people and economy of Dane County will be felt for years to come. With the loss of 1,000 jobs, both laborer and management, the mass layoff number for Wisconsin this year is abysmal.”
11/4/2015
Senator Shilling: Senate Republicans Unwilling to Lead MADISON – In a sign of growing turmoil between Republican leaders, Senate Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee opposed a bipartisan plan to prevent construction delays and fund infrastructure repairs.
11/4/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Canada and Wisconsin: Friends and Partners Did you know a third of everything Wisconsin sells to the world we sell to Canada? And more visitors come to Wisconsin from Canada than any other country? Wisconsin recently celebrated Canada Day at the Capitol. We welcomed Canadian Consul General Roy Norton. He brought along a host of facts about Wisconsin’s relationship with Canada.
11/3/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Taking Revenge on Good Government In recent weeks, I’ve been using my weekly column to highlight the legislative agenda Senate Democrats have announced, our “Badger Blueprint.” Our series of initiatives is intended to strengthen Wisconsin’s struggling middle class by growing our economy, fostering innovation in both state government and the private sector, and promoting greater opportunity for all our citizens.
11/3/2015
Senator Hansen: People’s Business Being Held Hostage by GOP’s Political Ambitions State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said today that the people’s business is being held hostage by Governor Walker and Republican leadership who are trying to pass controversial legislation that would eliminate the Government Accountability Board and make drastic changes to state campaign finance law.
11/3/2015
Senator Shilling: Get covered, visit healthcare.gov Open enrollment for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has now begun. As of Nov. 1st, Wisconsin residents and families can apply for a 2016 health plan, renew their current plan, or pick a new plan through the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplace.
11/3/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on Extraordinary Session MADISON - In order to dismantle the Government Accountability Board and restrict disclosure of special interest campaign influence, Republican leaders are preparing to bypass the normal process and call the Legislature into extraordinary session. In response, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
10/30/2015
Senator Harris Dodd and Senator Taylor: Speak Out Against Expanded Strip Search Bill Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd and Sen. Lena Taylor, along with community members and state and local elected officials, will hold a press conference on Monday, November 2, highlighting their concerns with Senate Bill 248, which expands the use of strip searches to any individual who is arrested and detained
10/30/2015
Senator Ringhand: Changes to Ethics and Election Laws Indicative of One-Party Rule For decades, Wisconsin has prided itself on the way we conduct our elections. Compared to most states, we have high voter participation in every part of the state, from people from all walks of life.
10/29/2015
Senator Hansen: State Goes from 4th to 3rd Highest in Nation for Student Loan Debt Responding today to new research that shows Wisconsin is now 3rd highest in the nation for the number of college graduates with student debt, State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) called for the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges to vote on the Higher Ed/Lower Debt bill that would allow the refinancing of student loans at lower interest rates.
10/29/2015
Senator Shilling Column: Open, clean government is good for everyone in Wisconsin Differences of opinion are inevitable in government. Disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over public investments, funding for schools or the fairness of our tax code are common. Despite these differences, everyone can agree that an open, transparent and accessible government is essential to our democracy.
10/29/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Bill Targeting Mental Health Gap for Veterans Most in Need Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) have unveiled a bill that would allow low-income veterans to receive a voucher for immediate mental health care for treatment such as emergency counseling, alcohol and drug treatment, and marriage counseling.
10/28/2015
Senator Shilling: Layoffs skyrocket while Republicans attack open government Mass layoffs in Wisconsin have increased dramatically in 2015 leaving thousands of Wisconsin workers unemployed and looking for work. New data from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development shows that 9,040 Wisconsin workers have been affected by mass layoffs and plant closings so far this year compared to 6,186 in all of 2014.
10/28/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Don’t Kill the Referees “Just do the right thing,” my doctor told me. We were discussing politics. We just finished reviewing the x-rays of my new hip replacement. My doctor wanted to offer a little advice to my colleagues in the Senate.
10/28/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Changing the Policing of Politicians Forever For Republicans in office right now, the John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 criminal investigations feel very personal. That’s because they involved their political leader Governor Walker and his former staff and groups that he coordinated campaign activity with. Those are undisputed facts. The reality though is that those investigations were not personal at all.
10/27/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Badger Blueprint Restores Opportunity for Middle Class Too many Wisconsin families feel like they are working harder and falling farther behind. And it’s no wonder: real wages continue to stagnate, while the costs of basic necessities continue to rise. Even in the midst of Wisconsin’s anemic job growth, our state is still losing middle and upper income jobs. All these factors contribute to the fact that people are falling out of the middle class in Wisconsin faster than any other state in the nation.
10/23/2015
Senator Shilling: Gov. Walker signs bill limiting John Doe investigations MADISON - Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement after Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 43 into law making it harder to investigate and prosecute political corruption:
10/23/2015
Senator Bewley: A Level Playing Field We’ve all had the experience, standing in line at the grocery store or the bank when you can’t help but overhear other conversations. Not that long ago, I did my best not to listen to the two men in front of me discussing pro football’s “deflategate” scandal.
10/22/2015
Senator Lassa: Novelty Lighter Bill passes Senate Committee Madison — A bill to ban the sale of novelty lighters to minors, introduced by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety today. The vote clears the way for action by the full Senate.
10/22/2015
Senator Harris Dodd: Responds to Bill Criminalizing Parents MADISON- Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement as the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on SB 324, which criminalizes low-income families.
10/21/2015
Senator Vinhout Column: Vos Bill opens the door on “dark money” in campaigns “This bill strengthens democracy because it allows more citizens to participate,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Wisconsin State Journal. Vos is the lead author of a bill to overhaul the state’s campaign finance law.
10/21/2015
Senator Miller: Statement on Passage of John Doe Madison – “Today Republicans streamlined corruption. They told Wisconsinites that politicians are above the law, that elected officials deserve special treatment and that avoiding accountability is more important than justice. Republicans are out of control.
10/21/2015
Senator Shilling: Corruption has a new ally MADISON - Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling released the following statement after legislative Republicans passed Senate Bill 43 to prevent John Doe investigations into political crimes:
10/21/2015
Senator Lassa: Statement on Bill to Shield Public Officials from Corruption Probes MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to today’s passage by the Senate of SB 43, which shields public officials from John Doe probes into misconduct in public office:
10/21/2015
Senator Risser: GOP Bill to Shield Public Officials from Investigations for Crimes in Public Office Passes Senate Shortly after midnight, the Senate passed a Republican-sponsored bill to change how John Doe investigations are conducted. The bill would prohibit John Doe proceedings to be used for investigating legislators, the governor, and most other public officials for misconduct in public office, corruption, extortion and most political and campaign-related crimes.
10/20/2015
Senator Ringhand: Formally requests the release of transportation funding (Madison) State Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) has formally requested that the Joint Committee on Finance approve a request by the Department of Transportation to release contingent bonding to reduce or eliminate the delay of the I-39/90 corridor and other road projects in southern Wisconsin.
10/20/2015
Senator Lassa: USO Wisconsin Month Passes Senate Madison — A bill to declare February, 2016 USO Wisconsin Month, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), passed the State Senate today. Next February marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Service Organizations, which provides food, entertainment, and support services to military personnel and their families, both at home and abroad.
10/20/2015
Senator Lassa: Badger Blueprint Builds on Wisconsin’s Spirit of Innovation In my column last week, I began to share the bold outline for Wisconsin’s future that is known as the Badger Blueprint. The Blueprint will help reverse our state’s economic doldrums, re-energize our economy and return to Wisconsin’s traditional values of rewarding hard work with greater opportunity.
10/20/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on Republican John Doe bill in the Senate “Republicans will pass this bill that says loud and clear that crimes, common political crimes, crimes politicians or public servants commit, cannot be investigated through a John Doe proceeding. John Doe proceedings have resulted in the charging and conviction of several politicians, both Republicans and Democrats – but yet not one Democrat in the room will stand with Republicans and say this is a good idea.”
10/19/2015
Senator Hansen: Stop Republican efforts to eliminate transparency and flood campaigns with secret money GREEN BAY –Today, Senator Dave Hansen and Representatives Eric Genrich, Gordon Hintz, and Amanda Stuck held a press conference to discuss secretly drafted, fast-tracked legislation that is expected to pass the Assembly this week. This political power grab is being rammed through in a matter of days and benefits no one but politicians and big moneyed special interests.
10/19/2015
Senator Shilling: GOP Pushes Bills to Hide Political Corruption and Allow More Money in Politics MADISON – The Republican majority in the State Legislature is preparing to pass three bills that would completely re-write Wisconsin’s campaign finance and state ethics laws.
10/15/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Restore Local Control" MADISON – Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Bewley urged legislative leaders to take up Senate Bill 307, which would restore important local control policies that were repealed in the 2015-17 state budget.
10/15/2015
Senator Hansen: Introduce WEDC Anti-Fraud Legislation (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced plans today to introduce legislation that would make corporate welfare fraud a felony and deny further assistance to those companies for seven years. The legislation would also create a WEDC specific waste, fraud and abuse hotline to better identify and penalize businesses and their owners who commit fraud when applying for state economic development assistance.
10/14/2015
Senator Vinehout: “Wisconsin is the only state with a truly nonpartisan board structure,” wrote Professor Daniel Tokaji in 2013. The Ohio State law professor hailed the Government Accountability Board as “America’s Top Model” of nonpartisan elections.
10/14/2015
Senator Harris Dodd: Curbing Gun Violence Means a Multi-Faceted Approach MADISON –State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement today after hosting a press conference with Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison), urging the State Legislature to reinstate the 48-hour waiting period on handgun purchases:
10/13/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Badger Blueprint Offers a New Direction for Our State Governor Walker’s presidential campaign travels created a leadership vacuum in the state, one that has left Wisconsin searching for direction. Our state continues its long economic malaise, trailing behind the region and the national average in new job creation, even as we continue to lose jobs that pay middle and upper range salaries. A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts showed that Wisconsin citizens are falling out of the middle class faster than any other state in the nation.
10/13/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on vote in Senate Health and Human Services committee affecting biomedical research “Today the Republicans on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted to ban significant lifesaving biomedical research in Wisconsin. This bill will have a direct impact on patients seeking medical treatment for difficult and desperate diseases.
10/13/2015
Senator Shilling: Republicans fail to address middle class issues MADISON – Legislative Republicans continue to move forward with several divisive policies designed to consolidate political power and suppress public transparency efforts. In a whirlwind day of capitol hearings, Republicans advanced legislation to dismantle the Government Accountability Board, open the floodgates for corporations to donate to political campaigns, limit life-saving research, eliminate groundwater protections and defund community health clinics.
10/13/2015
Senator Harris Dodd: Legislative Democrats Ask for Increased Funding for Transitional Jobs MADISON – Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D - Milwaukee) and Representative Daniel Riemer (D - Milwaukee) announced today they will introduce legislation to provide additional funding for the Transitional Jobs program and the Transform Milwaukee Jobs program.
10/13/2015
Senator Lassa: Statement on Bill to Repeal Government Accountability Board MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to today’s public hearing on Senate Bill 294 and Assembly Bill 388, which would replace Wisconsin’s non-partisan ethics and election agency, the Government Accountability Board, with an entity controlled by partisan political appointees:
10/12/2015
Senator Hansen: Walker Travel Bills Provide Reason for Taxpayer Protection Act (Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) said questions still remain about the true cost to taxpayers relating to the Governor’s campaign travels demonstrating the need to pass legislation that would reform the way in which such travel is reported and paid for by incumbent politicians running for higher office.
10/12/2015
Senator Shilling: Southwest WI road projects face costly delays due to GOP budget cuts MADISON - A recently released memo to state legislators by Gov. Walker's administration announced dozens of road construction and repair project delays due to recent budget cuts. The memo outlined 114 project delays in western and southwestern Wisconsin costing taxpayers millions more, increasing safety concerns and preventing the creation of thousands of jobs.
10/9/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on Supreme Court Appointment MADISON – In an unprecedented move, Gov. Walker has appointed current judicial candidate and long-time political ally Rebecca Bradley to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Many have raised concerns about Gov. Walker’s decision given Rebecca Bradley’s close ties to his political campaign and the proximity of the upcoming spring election. In response, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
10/8/2015
Senator Shilling column: Senate Democrats’ Badger Blueprint Focuses on Growth, Innovation and Opportunity As the days get shorter and the leaves change colors, my Senate Democratic colleagues and I continue to visit with Wisconsin residents of all ages about the challenges facing our state.
10/8/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Badger Blueprint will grow Wisconsin" MADISON – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Erpenbach highlighted the newly released Badger Blueprint plan to strengthen the middle class, boost family wages and create new jobs.
10/7/2015
Senator Lassa: Measures would help veterans and military personnel get college credit for experience Madison — Two bills that would help veterans and active duty service personnel receive college credit for training and experience they’ve received in the military, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) along with Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), received public hearings by the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges today.
10/7/2015
Senator Shilling: Democrats drive effort on student loan debt relief MADISON – A key student loan debt relief proposal introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) received a public hearing in the State Capitol today. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill (SB 194) would allow individuals to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates similar to options currently available for auto loans and home mortgages.
10/7/2015
Senator Vinehout: How Dismantling Civil Service is happening in Wisconsin One Step at a Time “Please do what you can to stop the dismantling of the civil service system,” Mary from Trempealeau County asked me. Mary is a retired social worker. Her call is one of a number of contacts I received lately from residents unhappy with a bill that would change state employment. Residents expressed concern that government jobs will be filled with political friends and relatives of those in power and will fail to serve its citizens.
10/7/2015
Senator Shilling: Legislative Republicans propose dismantling of Accountability Board MADISON – In an effort to distract from stagnant family wages and recent business closings, legislative Republicans have proposed eliminating the non-partisan state Government Accountability Board and replacing it with a group of hand-picked political appointees.
10/6/2015
Senator Lassa: Students’ Tenacity on Novelty Lighter Bill May be Rewarded A group of students at Pittsville Elementary School in Wood County have been getting an intensive civics lesson – one that’s lasted eight years so far, but one that I hope will be coming to a successful conclusion soon.
10/6/2015
Senator Lassa: Joins Senate Dems To Introduce “Badger Blueprint” Madison — Citing the need to strengthen Wisconsin’s struggling middle class, State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) joined fellow Senate Democrats at the State Capitol today to introduce their legislative agenda for the remainder of the current session, called the Badger Blueprint.
10/6/2015
Senator Shilling: Badger Blueprint lays out legislative priorities MADISON – As the Wisconsin Legislature begins its fall session, Senate Democrats want to make sure that efforts to strengthen the middle class are a top priority. After listening to local residents, Senate Democrats unveiled their Badger Blueprint agenda today that includes a wide range of new ideas and proven solutions to generate economic opportunities in Wisconsin.
10/2/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on the passing of Marty Beil MADISON - Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the folowing statement regarding the passing of longtime labor leader Marty Beil:
10/2/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on the death of constituent and change agent for working families Marty Beil Marty Beil lived his life working to improve the lives of public employees all over Wisconsin. Even after his retirement he did not stop contributing to positive change.
10/2/2015
Senator Hansen: Higher Ed Lower Debt Bill to Receive a Public Hearing (Madison)--Legislation which could help thousands of student loan borrowers throughout Wisconsin refinance their debt will receive a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges on Wednesday, October 7 in the State Capitol.
10/2/2015
Senator Ringhand: Medical Leave Reform Would Give Families More Flexibility Last Thursday, I had the honor to introduce the Wisconsin Family Medical Insurance Act to reform Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with my Assembly colleague Representative Sondy Pope (D – Cross Plains). Our proposal will make Wisconsin’s current FMLA more flexible so people can take off to care for their grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and eligible family members deployed overseas by our military.
10/1/2015
Senator Shilling: Calls for Special Session on Transportation Funding MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently announced that several major projects across the state will be delayed for years due to budget cuts enacted by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans.
10/1/2015
Senator Lassa: Three Bills Receive Hearings Madison — Three bills sponsored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) received public hearings by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety today. The hearing clears the way for committee executive action on the bills.
9/30/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Audit Bureau Turns 50, Receives National Recognition and Calls for its Demise “Fix the broken programs, get rid of the ones that don’t work and fund those that are working.” There’s not a state candidate around that would disagree with this statement. Yet there are some in the Legislature that would eliminate the very source of information on which programs are a waste of taxpayer dollars and where the broken programs need fixing.
9/29/2015
Senator Bewley: It’s Time to Stop Wreaking Havoc and Do the Right Thing Madison WI. - Wisconsin State Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta) released the following statement after joining Citizen Action of Wisconsin and legislators at an event in support of recovering $360 million for taxpayers. Citizen Action collected more than 43,000 signatures in favor of this responsible proposal – the petitions filled a table at today’s event:
9/29/2015
Senator Risser: Bills Would End Hunting and Trapping in State Parks (MADISON)—State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) proposed two bills today which would reverse legislation passed in the 2011-2013 session that permitted hunting and trapping in state parks.
9/29/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Targeting Wisconsin’s Clean Government Laws Now that Governor Walker’s presidential campaign has ended, many people are speculating about what he will do next. In an editorial, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel advised him that one of his first moves should be to “restrain the worst impulses” of his political party, which continues to control Wisconsin’s Executive Branch and the Legislature.
9/25/2015
Senator Ringhand Column: Working Toward a Long-Term Transportation Solution Now that the people of the United States have rejected the failed candidacy of Governor Walker, we have an opportunity to shift focus and fix the problems facing Wisconsin. Prior to his 70 day foray into the presidential race, Governor Walker crafted a hastily prepared state budget that was more of Presidential campaign document than one meant to get Wisconsin back on track.
9/24/2015
Senator Shilling: Republicans propose return to Political Patronage MADISON, WI – In response to a Republican legislative proposal that will repeal Wisconsin's civil service protections and increase political patronage in state government, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
9/24/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Protect Access to Birth Control" LA CROSSE – Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Shilling urged legislators to protect access to birth control and focus efforts this fall on restoring school funding, reducing student loan debt and increasing retirement security.
9/23/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Strong Consumer Protections Rely on You and Your Neighbors “I got a call saying the IRS was taking me to court, but I filed everything on time. What do I do?” Linda asked. We both agreed the phone call sounded fishy, so I reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to learn more.
9/22/2015
Senator Shilling: Republicans fail to learn from Gov. Walker’s mistakes MADISON, WI – Undeterred by Gov. Walker’s presidential collapse, legislative Republicans in Wisconsin continued their efforts to defund community health centers, restrict access to birth control and prohibit lifesaving medical research. Three legislative proposals, Senate Bills 237, 238 and 260, were advanced by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services today and met with broad range of bipartisan opposition.
9/22/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on Health and Human Services Committee Meeting “Wisconsin’s economy is stagnant, yet we must spend the day working to hurt our growing businesses. We all know that Wisconsin research follows the highest standards for tissue donation trying to save lives. Bioscience accounts for over 100,000 private sector jobs in Wisconsin.
9/21/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on Gov. Walker Announcement LA CROSSE, WI – After Governor Scott Walker's announcement today, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
9/21/2015
Senator Lassa Column: : A New Model for Growing Family-Supporting Jobs in Wisconsin We believe that economic development in Wisconsin is vitally important to our future and we all want Wisconsin to be a national leader in creating good-paying jobs. That’s why we are proposing a new path forward for our state’s jobs agency. We are proposing a two-pronged, hybrid agency that will help grow family-supporting jobs by supporting entrepreneurs and economic development, while also protecting taxpayers against fraud and outsourcing.
9/18/2015
Senator Ringhand: In Wisconsin, Every Day is Voter Registration Day On Tuesday, September 22nd more than a thousand organizations are joining together to celebrate “National Voter Registration Day.” Volunteers will be registering hundreds of thousands of new voters throughout America in an effort to increase participation in our electoral process.
9/17/2015
Senator Shilling: Wisconsin schools remain resilient MADISON, WI – State Superintendent Tony Evers delivered a powerful State of Education Address to a packed capitol rotunda audience today. In his speech, Supt. Evers highlighted the resiliency of Wisconsin’s public schools and their success in the face of political adversity.
9/16/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: WEDC Leaders Missed Opportunity to Apologize and Reform “Are you going to follow the recommendations in the audit?” I asked the Board Chair of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). He crossed his arms, sat back and smiled at me. A smile that, to me, said I was annoying him. The clearest path to better outcomes at Governor Walker’s flagship jobs creation agency is to follow the recommendations of the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB).
9/15/2015
Senator Lassa: Novelty Lighter Bill Passes Committee Madison — A bill to ban the sale of novelty lighters to minors, introduced by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was approved unanimously by the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection today. The vote clears the way for action by the full Assembly.
9/15/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on WI Dept. of Economic Opportunity proposal MADISON, WI – After Sen. Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) unveiled a new agency model for economic development in Wisconsin, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
9/15/2015
Senator Shilling: Protect Wisconsin students; Pass voucher school accountability MADISON, WI – An investigative report by FOX6 News in Milwaukee has revealed the unexpected closure of a private school in Gov. Walker’s voucher program. According to the FOX6 report, the Daughters of the Father Christian Academy closed less than two weeks into the school year leaving dozens of families scrambling to find a new school for their children.
9/15/2015
Senator Shilling: Release of 2015-16 State Blue Books LA CROSSE, WI – Wisconsin residents can now request a copy of the new 2015-16 Wisconsin State Blue Book. This book is the most current and complete resource for information about Wisconsin government, elected and appointed state leaders, and statewide statistical data.
9/11/2015
Senator Shilling: GOP seeks to shield political corruption MADISON, WI – After Republican legislative leaders vowed today to pass Senate Bill 43 and limit investigations into political corruption, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
9/10/2015
Senator Harris Dodd: Introduces Lethal Violence Protective Orders MADISON- In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) is seeking support for a new bill that would help prevent suicides in Wisconsin. LRB 0886/1 would allow families and friends of loved ones who may commit self-harm to petition a court to help their loved one.
9/10/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Changes needed to improve accountability at WEDC" STEVENS POINT, WI – Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Lassa expressed disappointment with the continued shortcomings at Gov. Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
9/9/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Audit Shows Riders Received Poor Services “Just how many ‘no shows’ are acceptable?” I asked Medicaid Director Kevin Moore at a recent Audit Committee Hearing. “Is 4,154 people left without a ride too many?” Wisconsin needs a different system for getting seriously ill elderly and disabled to their medical appointments. A recent audit showed poor services provided by a private company contracted to give rides to some elderly and disabled.
9/8/2015
Senator Lassa: Governor’s Words on Workforce Development Don’t Match his Deeds Governor Walker recently declared September to be Workforce Development Month in Wisconsin. I agree that it’s a topic that deserves serious consideration. Wisconsin is facing a workforce crisis that will only accelerate in the coming years unless we take decisive action.
9/8/2015
Senator Shilling: GOP shuns accountability, opts for further voucher expansion MADISON, WI – Just days after a new report detailed the drastic increase in state spending on Gov. Walker’s unaccountable private school voucher program, legislative Republicans are poised to further expand the entitlement program and increase taxpayer costs. Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) is fast-tracking Senate Bill 250 that would increase the number of taxpayer-funded private school vouchers in Wisconsin.
9/4/2015
Senator Bewley Column: Time to Pull the Plug on Failed WEDC In the economic real world beyond the Capitol in Madison, there has been a fair amount of discussion about government intervention in the economy. Do tax breaks for some industries but not others, grants to some businesses but not their competitors and direct government loans actually work? Should political appointees use your tax dollars to pick winners and losers?
9/3/2015
Senate Democrats: Sen. Risser appointed to serve on Educational Communications Board MADISON – Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) has been appointed to serve on the Educational Communications Board (ECB) Board of Directors by Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). The ECB is a state agency responsible for distributing K-12 educational media, public safety alerts and public broadcasting services to Wisconsin’s citizens.
9/2/2015
Senator Lassa: Bill to Help Local Small Business Passes Committee Madison – A bill to help a Wisconsin Rapids small business expand its special event offerings, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), was passed by a Senate Committee today on a unanimous vote.
9/2/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Teacher Shortage: Who Will Teach the Children? “Please sound the alarm,” Superintendent Mary Baier wrote to me. “We are not able to find people to fill positions in Wisconsin.” She needed a special education teacher and only one applicant had applied to her rural Plum City district.
9/1/2015
Senator Shilling: $1.1 Billion and Counting... GOP vouchers undermine public education in Wisconsin MADISON, WI – According to a newly-released budget analysis, spending on Wisconsin’s taxpayer-subsidized voucher school program is now expected to exceed $1.1 billion since Gov. Walker and Legislative Republicans took power in 2011.
8/31/2015
Senator Shilling Column: Some Food for Thought With the ringing of school bells and the roar of high school football games, students across Wisconsin are heading back to class. But in many classrooms, the start of school is also marked by the rumbling of empty stomachs.
8/31/2015
Senator Lassa: Statement on Tribune Building Grant MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to the announcement of a $472,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to the City of Wisconsin Rapids to help renovate the Tribune Building:
8/27/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Taxpayer Protection Act" MADISON – Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Hansen highlighted the Taxpayer Protection Act which would increase public transparency for politicians running for higher office.
8/27/2015
Senators Hansen and Bewley: Call for Public Hearing on Secret Plan to Merge UW Campuses and Tech Colleges (Madison)—The Democratic members of the State Senate’s Universities and Technical Colleges Committee called today for the committee to hold a public hearing on the impact merging the state’s 2-year UW campus system and the Technical College system would have on the students, faculty, staff and the local communities the campuses serve.
8/26/2015
Senator Vinehout: Health Still a Top Political Issue “ObamaCare must be repealed immediately,” begins Governor Walker’s health plan for America. Recently the governor unveiled his health plan to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He chose Minnesota as the backdrop - a state whose state-based marketplace offers health premiums to families that are over three hundred dollars less a month than Wisconsin’s federal marketplace according to research by the Commonwealth Fund.
8/26/2015
Senator Risser: Bill Would Ban the Use of Tanning Facilities by Minors (MADISON)—State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) is proposing legislation that would ban minors from using tanning facilities.
8/25/2015
Senator Lassa: Statement on WEDC Secretary Retirement MADISON -- Senator Julie Lassa issued a statement in reaction to the announcement that Reed Hall will resign from his position as Secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
8/25/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Making a Will Now Can Prevent Confusion, Conflict Later It’s estimated that somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of American adults don’t have wills. Many people think they are too young, that they don’t have enough assets, or that preparing a will involves too much hassle and expense. Some think that state laws and the beneficiary designations on their life insurance policies will be enough to make sure their money and property end up in the right hands. And some people just don’t want to contemplate their own mortality.
8/24/2015
Senator Hansen: Rep. Shankland, Sen. Hansen Unveil Proposal to Protect Wisconsin Taxpayers MADISON – Assembly Democratic Assistant Leader Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) today unveiled a new legislative proposal to promote taxpayer transparency and accountability on travel and security expenses. The bill offers full transparency to the taxpayers and holds elected officials accountable, so the people of Wisconsin can be assured that they are not paying for campaign-related trips.
8/19/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Lack of Rural Broadband Frustrates Fairgoers “It’s pedal to the metal on broadband policy—for both consumers and competitors,” said Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler at a recent address to the Brookings Institute as reported on a Brookings website.
8/18/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Governor Walker plan to repeal health care coverage for 16 million Americans, 200,000 from Wisconsin. The last person this country needs in charge of access to affordable health care is someone who just doesn’t get it. Governor Scott Walker has benefitted his entire adult life from publicly assisted – tax payer funded health care.
8/18/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on Gov. Walker's proposal to restrict health care access MADISON, WI – Following a proposal from Gov. Scott Walker to eliminate key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
8/13/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Park cuts a result of lagging economy" MADISON, WI – Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Miller expressed concerns with the defunding of Wisconsin's state parks and the additional fees Wisconsin families will now be forced to pay as a result of the 2015-17 Republican state budget.
8/12/2015
Senator Shilling: UW-L drives local economic development LA CROSSE, WI – Local economic development efforts received a major boost today as the Wisconsin State Building Commission approved the final design and funding for the new University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (UW-L) Science Lab project.
8/12/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Should Tax Dollars Go to Companies Just to “Create Jobs”? Imagine how private firms do business with the State of Wisconsin. The companies provide something of value for taxpayers and, in return, receive state money. This happens all the time in state government: private companies build roads, computer systems, pay Medicaid bills, and even educate children. What if the sole reason tax dollars went to a company was to create jobs?
8/11/2015
Senator Lassa Column: Back-to-School Preparations Should Include Immunization With the start of the new school year just around the corner, most parents have a list of preparations to get through – registrations, fees, new clothes and supplies, and so on. That list should also include making sure your children are up to date with their vaccinations. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to review the importance of sending kids back to school with the immunization protection they need.
8/10/2015
Senator Hansen: Call for Passage of Non-Partisan Re-Districting Bill (Madison)—Responding to recent research showing Wisconsin to be the most gerrymandered state in the nation State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) called on the Legislature to pass his non-partisan re-districting bill to restore fairness in Wisconsin elections.
8/5/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: County Fairs: Time for Creativity and Critters, Friends and Family “We were working on a peach pie at 11:00 pm last night,” a 4-H mom whispered. “We were working on brownies at 2:00 am,” said another mom who overhead the conversation. We were outside the 4-H food judging at the Pepin County Fair. You could have heard a pin drop inside the room as the judges sampled the entries. “What a great job,” I thought. “Dessert judge at the county fair.”
8/4/2015
Senator Lassa: Novelty Lighter Bill gets hearing A bill to ban the sale of novelty lighters to minors, introduced by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), received a hearing by the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection today.
8/4/2015
Senator Lassa: Troubling Pattern Emerging of Challenges to Open Government Wisconsin’s once-proud tradition of open, transparent government has suffered a series of blows in recent weeks. A disturbing pattern has emerged of attempts to block citizen access to information about the activities of state government and to undermine the foundations of ethics and accountability in our state.
7/31/2015
Senator Lassa: Gudex-Hutton Bill Removes Legislative Oversight of WEDC MADISON -- State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to the circulation of a bill late Friday afternoon by Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and Representative Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) that would remove legislative members from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors:
7/30/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Celebrating five years of a smoke-free Wisconsin" MADISON, WI – Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Risser highlighted the five year anniversary of Wisconsin's smoke-free workplace law.
7/29/2015
Senator Vinehout Column: Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50: Born from Compromise, Continuing in Controversy “Whatever you do,” the elderly woman in Gilmanton told me a few years ago, “Keep your government-run hands off my Medicare.” Medicare and Medicaid turned 50 years old on July 30, 2015. After decades of political leaders grappling on the issue of health care, it was in 1965, that then President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law.
7/27/2015
Senator Lassa Column: In Summertime, Local Food Choices Abound High summer has arrived, and the outpouring of fresh, locally-grown produce and food products is nearing its peak. Whether it’s a farmers’ market, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, roadside produce stands or the growing number of supermarkets that feature locally raised and produced food products, it’s easier than ever to find great things to eat that come from close to home.
7/22/2015
Senator Shilling: Walker jobs agency “in disarray” MADISON, WI – As Governor Walker continues to travel across the country pursuing his presidential ambitions, more questions are being raised about his flagship jobs agency amid shocking new reports of cronyism, financial mismanagement and potential corruption. In mid-May, the Wisconsin State Journal revealed that Gov. Walker’s top aides pushed for millions in unsecured loans to one of the Governor’s top campaign contributors.
7/22/2015
Senator Vinehout: Art Mirrors our Environment “If you came to Stockholm today, you came up or over a river,” musician Julie Patchouli told the folks gathered at the 42nd Annual Art Fair. The musical group, known by Julie’s last name, began a rousing river song as part of the celebration of art in the village of Stockholm, Wisconsin.
7/21/2015
Senator Lassa: Success, Concerns Detailed in New “Kids Count” Report Nothing could be truer than the old saying that children are our future. Everything from the economic health of our communities to the physical and emotional health of our citizens depends to a large extent on the care and education of our kids.
7/16/2015
Senator Bewley: Republicans Put the Ball in Wrong Basket In a short two week period, the Republican-led Senate has made it clear who and what their priorities are. And the sad part is that you are not on their list. Last week it was the 2015-2017 State Budget. This week it was a bill that spends over 400 million dollars of taxpayer money to build a new basketball arena in Milwaukee.
7/16/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Prioritize Wisconsin values" LA CROSSE – Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Shilling expressed support for investments in schools, local communities and infrastructure projects to boost Wisconsin's economy.
7/15/2015
Senator Ringhand: Statement on keeping the Bucks in Wisconsin “The statewide economic impact of the Milwaukee Bucks, the support from labor groups and the outpouring of support for the arena plan from my constituents contributed to my vote to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in Wisconsin.
7/15/2015
Senator Shilling column: Leverage investments to spur job growth Wisconsin is struggling economically. While other states have invested in their communities and boosted family wages, Wisconsin has seen stagnant job growth and a declining middle class. It’s no secret that the “cut and borrow” approach over the last four years hasn’t worked. So where do we go from here?
7/15/2015
Senator Larson: Statement on passage of arena deal for milwaukee MADISON – Senator Larson released the following statement on the passage of the arena deal for Milwaukee:
7/14/2015
Senator Lassa Column: GOP “No” Votes Show Just How Bad the Budget Really Is When the final vote in the Assembly on the 2015-2017 state budget was taken, eleven Republican members – all of them in competitive districts despite heavy gerrymandering – voted no.
7/13/2015
Senator Shilling: Dogged by scandals at home, Gov. Walker sets his sights on D.C. LA CROSSE – Despite ongoing questions about potential corruption, criminal pay-to-play activity and another financially reckless $1.2 million taxpayer giveaway at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Gov. Walker is set to abandon his post as chairman of the troubled agency and focus on his presidential campaign.
7/13/2015
Senator Vinehout colulmn: Governor Walker’s Vetoes Remove Legislative Oversight “I object to the infringement on gubernatorial power and duties,” wrote Governor Walker in his veto message. By his budget vetoes he made it clear he did not want legislative oversight.
7/12/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on budget signing MADISON - Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement after Gov. Walker signed the 2015-17 state budget bill into law:
7/10/2015
Senator Bewley: Lighthouse transfer a reason to celebrate Bewley welcomes Sen. Baldwin’s successful effort to preserve historic beacon
7/10/2015
Senator Shilling: GOP renews effort to limit public transparency ahead of Walker announcement MADISON - After a failed attempt to gut Wisconsin’s open records law last week, legislative Republicans have now set their sights on Wisconsin’s non-partisan government watchdog agency in an effort to prevent investigations into potential ethics and criminal investigations.
7/8/2015
Senator Ringhand: Statement on Passage of the State Budget It is a shame that the Senate Republicans are selling out Wisconsin to support Governor Walker’s presidential ambitions.
7/8/2015
Senator Larson: Statement on Passage of Republican’s Backwards Budget Republicans betray Wisconsinites by passing a state budget that fails to invest in our traditional, shared values
7/8/2015
Senator Miller: Statement Regarding Passage of 2015-17 Budget This embarrassingly abysmal document reflects the consequences of disastrous economic decisions by the governor and enacted into law by the republican majority since they took power in 2011.
7/8/2015
State Capitol Update – A recap of this week’s votes “Under the Dome” This update is being provided to help keep citizens informed about important decisions happening at the State Capitol and to stay updated on how elected officials are voting on key issues in Madison.
7/7/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on budget debate Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement regarding the 2015-17 state budget bill that has been proposed by Senate Republicans:
7/7/2015
Senator Vinehout: Statement on Budget State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) released the following statement following the State Senate action on the 2015-17 State Budget bill:
7/7/2015
Senator Lassa: Budget Will Hurt Middle Class Families State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement today in reaction to the passage of the 2015-2017 biennial budget by the State Senate. The Senate passed the budget by a razor-thin margin, with Sen. Lassa joining a bipartisan group of legislators voting against it.
7/7/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on the passage of the 2015-2017 Wisconsin State Budget in the Senate This budget spent over $10 billion dollars more than the 2009-2011 budget. The problem with this budget was never a lack of cash. From day one, the problem has been that this budget is all about presidential politics and not about the priorities of the people of this state.
7/7/2015
Senator Hansen: State on Budget Passage This budget continues a pattern of giving yet millions more in tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of our public schools and universities as well as our roads and highways.
7/6/2015
Senator Larson: Statement on Budget Secrecy Republicans attempt to outrun public scrutiny
7/3/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on tragic open records changes inserted into budget at 11th hour Some of first laws created in Wisconsin after we became a state were laws that granted access to public records and meetings. President Nixon and the Watergate scandal brought unprecedented transparency to governments all over the United States and with good cause; democracy cannot work without transparency.
7/3/2015
Senator Hansen: GOP destruction of open records law Their attack on our Open Records Law spits in the face of the very holiday we are about to celebrate. Democracy cannot survive if people are denied access to information about what their government is doing.
7/3/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on open government changes After the Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee voted to gut Wisconsin’s long standing tradition of open government laws, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
7/2/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Celebrate America, Support Our Troops" Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Lassa highlighted the work of the USO Wisconsin which has been supporting military service men and women since 1943.
7/1/2015
Senator Vinehout: Four (Not so Easy) Ways to Balance the Transportation Budget “If it was up to you,” the Chamber of Commerce moderator asked area legislators, “How would you solve the transportation problem?”
7/1/2015
Senator Shilling: Legislative Republicans deal one-two punch to Wisconsin communities GOP budget deal will cost jobs and force more school cuts
7/1/2015
Senator Ringhand: Statement on Transportation Budget “Deal” The transportation budget “deal” is no deal at all for south-central Wisconsin.
7/1/2015
Senator Lassa: Bill Would Expand Overtime Pay Raising income threshold would help 80,000 Wisconsin employees
6/30/2015
Senator Bewley: Changes to Well Woman Program Not Necessarily for the Better Madison – Wisconsin State Senator Janet Bewley expressed disappointment in both the process and substance of changes being made to the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
6/30/2015
Senator Shilling: School advocates rally to restore K-12 funding cuts Republican cuts threaten education opportunities for Wisconsin children
6/30/2015
Senator Hansen: Time to Pass Re-Districting Independent redistricting shown to reduce polarization
6/30/2015
Senator Lassa: USO Wisconsin Helps Those Who Defend Our Freedom I had the honor a few weeks ago to attend the grand opening of the new United Service Organizations (USO) service center at Forward Operating Base Freedom at Fort McCoy. I met military personnel from all over the country, and got to share a picnic lunch with the troops. It was a great chance to learn more about USO Wisconsin, which has been supporting our service men and women since 1943.
6/29/2015
Senator Larson: Statement on the Assembly Republicans' arena proposal Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson released the following statement on today’s release by Legislative Republicans on their arena proposal:
6/26/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on marriage equality ruling MADISON – After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of defining marriage equality as a constitutionally protected right, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
6/26/2015
Senator Larson: Statement on affirmation of marriage equality for all MADISON – Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson released the following statement on today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that affirms marriage equality for all nationwide:
6/26/2015
Senator Risser: Statement on Supreme Court Rulings (MADISON)—State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) issued the following statement on the historic Supreme Court rulings this week:
6/26/2015
Senator Bewley: Good News We got some good news this week. The Richard I. Bong Memorial Regional Airport will receive $40,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration. These federal dollars will be augmented by state and local investments of over $2,000 each. The prospect of improved air transportation options for businesses and families in the North is important to growth and quality of life in our area.
6/26/2015
Senator Ringhand: Statement Regarding U.S. Supreme Decision to Confirm Equal Protection of the Law for All Americans The U.S. Court decision to confirm equal protection of the law for every American was the correct decision.
6/26/2015
Senator Risser: Statement on Supreme Court Rulings (MADISON)—State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) issued the following statement on the historic Supreme Court rulings this week:
6/25/2015
Senator Ringhand: Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Uphold the Affordable Care Act Today, the United States Supreme Court made the correct decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
6/25/2015
Senator Harris Dodd: Statement on King v. Burwell Decision MADISON –State Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s provisions that allow the federal government to provide nationwide subsidies to help individuals buy health insurance:
6/25/2015
Senator Erpenbach: US Supreme Court Affirming ObamaCare Statement on decision of the Supreme Court of the Unites States on the legality of tax credits to low income households enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.
6/25/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on King v. Burwell decision MADISON – After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of upholding another key component of the Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) released the following statement:
6/18/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Invest in students, not special interests" Senator Jon Erpenbach offered the Democratic weekly radio address
6/18/2015
Senator Carpenter: Don't Cut Local Road Aids Funding Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) blasted legislative Republican leaders for suggesting that the Department of Transportation save money in the state budget by cutting local road aids.
6/18/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Governor Walker’s continued absence and the resulting infighting between Legislative Republicans The public in-fighting between Senate and Assembly Republican leadership is of no benefit to the people of this state.
6/17/2015
Senator Shilling: Badger State ranks dead last in Midwest job growth Wisconsin job creation slowed by absentee Governor and GOP budget deficit
6/16/2015
Senator Erpenbach: As Crisis Budget Deepens, Republicans Unable to Govern … While Republican leadership collapses over disagreements over backroom deals and giveaways to the wealthy, Governor Scott Walker is nowhere to be found as he travels outside of the state promoting his presidential bid....
6/16/2015
Senator Carpenter: Bucks Arena Plan – What Did We Just Vote on Today State Senator Tim Carpenter announced that he has voted against tax exemptions for the governor’s proposal for a new Bucks arena....
6/13/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Citizen Boards Gutted in Governor’s Budget Wisconsin “citizen boards” have a long history... The philosophy behind their enactment: the people that have to live with the rules of government deserve an active hand in the making of policy and in the consequences for violating the laws....
6/12/2015
State Capitol Update – A recap of this week’s votes “Under the Dome” This update is being provided to help keep citizens informed about important decisions happening at the State Capitol and to stay updated on how elected officials are voting on key issues in Madison.
6/11/2015
Senator Shilling: Statement on parent-led school advocacy MADISON – Following the ongoing antagonism toward parent-led school advocacy organizations by legislative Republicans, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) issued the following statement:
6/9/2015
Senator Shilling: Republicans pass dangerous abortion ban GOP disregards medical community and approves ban that threatens women's health
6/9/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on the passage of Senate Bill 179 – Abortion Ban Women and families in Wisconsin facing difficult decisions have had their health and lives put on the line with the passage of the dangerous abortion ban authored by Senator Lazich...
6/5/2015
Senator Lassa: “Skills Gap” Bill Gets Senate Hearing Senate Bill 163, the Workforce Growth Program, would provide rapid response grants to technical colleges to expand their capacity to train workers in high-demand skills.
6/4/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Making higher education more affordable" MADISON – Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Hansen highlighted the importance of UW funding and the need to address the growing student loan debt crisis.
6/4/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on Senate Health and Human Services Committee Abortion Ban Vote Today, it was confirmed that not only are Senate Republicans advancing a dangerous piece of legislation, they have no idea what’s in it.
6/3/2015
Senator Shilling: Democrats support transportation investments MADISON - As the Republican-controlled State Legislature continues to struggle with Wisconsin’s transportation fund deficit, a growing number of Republican legislators are pushing to repeal or gut Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws.
6/3/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on SB 179/AB 237 Abortion Ban Every single person, on these committees and in this Legislature, should recognize that these decisions should be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor, not by me, not by any politician...
6/3/2015
Senator Miller: Yet Another Distraction It is unfortunate that the Republicans find their own budget so atrocious that they must stoop so low as to attack a woman’s right to do what’s best for her and her family to distract from their budget.
6/2/2015
Senator Shilling column: Celebrate June Dairy Month If you’re looking for another excuse to enjoy some delicious local food and beautiful weather, June is the perfect time to get out and celebrate Dairy Month in Wisconsin. This month is a time for us to recognize the hardworking dairy producers, milk processors and local farm families that make Wisconsin America’s Dairy State.
6/2/2015
Senator Carpenter: Laurel & Hardy Would Recognize This Bad “Big Business” State Budget Deal State Senator Tim Carpenter released the following statement in response to the Joint Finance Committee’s "another fine mess" they've gotten themselves into with the current state budget....
6/2/2015
Senator Carpenter: Carpenter Repeats Call for Transportation Budget Vote Separate Senator Tim Carpenter today repeated his call for the legislature to have a vote on the transportation budget separate from the vote on the general state budget....
5/30/2015
State Capitol Update – A recap of this week’s votes “Under the Dome” This update is being provided to help keep citizens informed about important decisions happening at the State Capitol and to stay updated on how elected officials are voting on key issues in Madison.
5/27/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Anything Less Than Removal is a Failure Governor Walker’s Plan to Give WI Long Term Care to Out of State For Profit Insurance, Up Today
5/22/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Dismantling K-12 Education in Wisconsin A summary of the Republican’s 29-page education omnibus motion...
5/21/2015
JFC Dems: Republicans Make $360 Million Mistake Madison – Democratic members of the Joint Committee on Finance once again called on Republicans to accept federal funds in Wisconsin even though that action would buck Governor Walker’s Presidential plans...
5/21/2015
Senator Carpenter: Statement on Passing of Alderman Joe Dudzik State Senator Tim Carpenter released the following statement on the passing of Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik....
5/20/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Local ADRC’s Deserve Legislative Support In the mid-1990’s Wisconsin made the decision to create Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC’s). These centers have spread throughout Wisconsin and have been used as a model for many other states for best practice in local long term care support...
5/19/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on Republican’s 29 page education omnibus motion We tried to make the Republican plans for public and private schools better but they remain committed to listening to private school special interests over parents, teachers and public school advocates...
5/19/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Democrats propose millions in K12 public school funding while republicans throw scraps … Democrats anticipate that their plan will provide significantly more money than any Republican proposal for our K-12 public schools while using existing state resources...
5/14/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Motion to Require Audit of DOA Info Tech Funds “Department of Administration had $11.9 million surplus spending last year in their main IT fund yet Governor Walker asked for more money and we are voting today to give them more money for next year. There needs to be some accountability here...
5/7/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Save lives by investing in OWI treatment and prevention efforts" MADISON – Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Carpenter highlighted the concerns with drunk driving and the negative impact of continued Republican cuts to cost-effective OWI treatment and prevention programs.
5/5/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Motion in Finance to Support WI Cancer Reporting System Cancer survivors and advocacy groups believed the funds for the statistical reporting center would be a part of Governor Walker’s budget, but the funding was not included...
5/5/2015
Senator Carpenter: Senate Unanimously Passes Bill to Protect Domestic Abuse Victims Sen. Carpenter and Rep. Jacque thanked their colleagues in the senate for passing a bill that will help victims of domestic violence by taking away leverage that the perpetrators can hold over a victim by threatening harm to a victim’s pet....
4/29/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Bill to prohibit DOC from setting costly overtime policies "The DOC is set to roll out a policy that will cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin an undetermined amount of money while further eroding the morale of corrections officers. This bill would put the brakes on those plans,” said Erpenbach....
4/23/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Protect our Communities" MADISON – Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Harris Dodd called for state action to decrease gun violence across Wisconsin.
4/21/2015
Senator Carpenter: Sticking it to Milwaukee again Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement regarding calls for local taxpayer “contributions” for proposals for financing a new Buck’s Arena...
4/19/2015
Senator Carpenter: Public Hearing in Downtown Milwaukee on Arena Deal Needed State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) sent the following request to Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald asking that any proposed deal for a new Bucks Arena Project be given a public hearing in downtown Milwaukee....
4/9/2015
Senator Carpenter: Walker Must Repay Taxpayers for Political Junkets by April 15th Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) called on Governor Scott Walker to repay the taxpayers for his “political junkets” around the country and around the globe by April 15, 2015, the day by which Wisconsin taxpayers must file their tax returns....
4/9/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Protecting Wisconsin's outdoor heritage" MADISON – Senator Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Wirch talks about the proposed changes to the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, cuts to state parks and limits to public input and oversight authority.
3/26/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Protecting Wisconsin Families and Seniors" MADISON – Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Erpenbach talks about the dramatic changes to SeniorCare, IRIS and Family Care that are being proposed by Republicans.
3/25/2015
Senator Carpenter: Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced to Help Protect Domestic Abuse Victims Senator Tim Carpenter announced that he has introduced a bill with strong bi-partisan support that will help victims of domestic violence by taking away leverage that the perpetrators can hold over a victim by threatening harm to a victim’s pet....
3/13/2015
JFC Dems: Letter excerpts DOA, WEDC, WHEDA, DOT, and Governor's Office Members were given 10 minutes for questions at the briefings. The letters represent unanswered questions or questions where more information is being requested...
3/12/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Make your voice heard" MADISON – Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In her radio message, Sen. Taylor talks about Gov. Walker's $2.2 billion state budget deficit and opportunities for Wisconsin residents to share their thoughts on his proposed cuts.
3/11/2015
Senator Carpenter: Federal Ruling Gives Urgency for Wisconsin to Ban Powdered Alcohol Senator Carpenter announced that yesterday’s federal ruling allowing the sale of powdered alcohol – unless states ban it – gives urgency to quickly pass his bill to outlaw the sale of powdered alcohol in this state (Senate Bill 10)....
3/6/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Leave IRIS Alone Eliminating today's IRIS and moving to a medical managed care model is wrong for Wisconsin's Elderly and Disabled...
3/4/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Day Three of GOP Budget Crisis Briefings Risky mergers and irresponsible borrowing dominate agenda...
3/4/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Questions $345 Million in Giveaway of Fed Funds “…How can we continue to justify giving our taxpayer money to other states when here in Wisconsin we face a $2.2 billion deficit? Maybe we should be “bold thinkers” for our taxpayers…” said Senator Erpenbach...
3/3/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Day Two of GOP Budget Crisis Briefings "…Gov. Walker’s budget makes the wrong choices. Instead of investing in our schools and growing our economy through expanded worker training opportunities, Republicans choose to cut and borrow their way through the $2.2 billion budget crisis they created...
3/2/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Insufficient Staffing and Forced Overtime at Correctional Institutions “I hear every day from front line corrections officers that when they walk in the door at the beginning of their shift they are told they will be working forced overtime that day, or even worse they find out three hours before they are scheduled to leave...
3/2/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Agency testimony begins on Gov. Walker’s $2.2 billion deficit plan Speakers on Monday include top officials from the Department of Administration, the Department of Corrections, the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice...
2/27/2015
Senator Erpenbach: SeniorCare Must Stay for WI Senior Citizens Once again in Governor Walker’s budget he has suggested cutting $15 million from the popular senior citizen prescription drug program SeniorCare...
2/20/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Don’t Mess With Local Government Property Insurance Fund ... The reality is that when local governments have to pay more to insure public property, taxpayers will be the ones that have to pay for it...
2/18/2015
Senator Erpenbach:Democrats call for more public hearings on budget Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) sent a letter to the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance asking for more hearings...
2/17/2015
Senator Carpenter: Wisconsin’s Presidential Primary Should be on February 16, 2016 State Senator Tim Carpenter announced that he will be introducing a bill to move up the date of Wisconsin’s presidential primary election to the third Tuesday of February....
2/13/2015
Senator Carpenter: Gov. Walker’s Cuts & Changes to SeniorCare Must Be Reversed State Senator Tim Carpenter issued the following statement opposing Governor Walker’ proposal to cut $15 million from SeniorCare, and to move SeniorCare enrollees onto Medicare Part D....
2/12/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "Expand access to retirement security" MADISON – Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Hansen talks about his proposal to expand retirement security options and efforts to prevent Gov. Walker’s cut to Wisconsin’s popular SeniorCare prescription drug program.
2/10/2015
Senator Carpenter: Welcomes News of Pope Francis Visit to United States Today State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement in response to the news that Pope Francis will be visiting The United States in September of 2015 and addressing a joint session of the United States Congress....
2/3/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Statement on Governor Walker budget “Governor Walker’s national political ambitions appear to be a distraction from his responsibilities here in Wisconsin...
1/30/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Sunshine Needed for Elections in Wisconsin We have within our power the ability to shine light on all money spent in political campaigns...
1/29/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: "The Wisconsin Idea is under threat" MADISON – Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) offered the Democratic weekly radio address today. In his radio message, Sen. Larson talks about the proposed cuts to our UW schools that would limit access for students and lead to layoffs across Wisconsin.
1/26/2015
Senator Carpenter: Remembering the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement marking today’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most notorious of the Nazi extermination camps....
1/25/2015
Senator Carpenter: Wisconsin Should Ban Powdered Alcohol Sen. Carpenter introduces bill with bi-partisan support to ban powdered alcohol
1/21/2015
Senator Taylor: GOP Takes Additional Step to Amend State Constitution (MADISON) Yesterday, the GOP continued their effort to fast-track a constitutional amendment to ballot by the spring election. After Republican legislators on the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety rammed this proposal through committee, by providing the public and my colleagues with less than 25 hours’ notice, and by rescheduling the vote on the bill from a week away to the same day as the public hearing.
1/16/2015
Senator Erpenbach: 2015 Budget Listening Sessions Announced ...The listening sessions will help the local Legislators with a dialog of concerns and support for specific budget proposals as well as an opportunity for citizens to relay their state budget priorities...
1/15/2015
Senator Taylor: Unnecessary Rush to Amend State Constitution (MADISON) In an effort to rush a constitutional amendment to ballot by the spring election, Republican legislators on the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety demonstrated a complete disregard for the legislative process. “Today, we witnessed a complete overreach in the effort to gain control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court” said committee member Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee).
1/15/2015
Weekly Democratic radio address: Help Wisconsin families get ahead MADISON -- Today, Senator Julie Lassa (D–Stevens Point) offered the following Democratic Weekly Radio Address on honoring mothers by supporting equal pay for equal work. The audio file can be found here. A written transcript of the address is as follows:
1/13/2015
Senator Taylor: Milwaukee Missing in Governor’s Comeback [Madison, Wis.] – Today, Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) noted that Governor Walker’s Wisconsin’s Comeback, highlighted in the State of the State Address, has left many behind in Milwaukee. “It is unacceptable to have the disparities in employment, education and incarceration that are facing communities of color in our city” said Taylor.
1/6/2015
Senator Erpenbach: Sworn in as State Senator “It was an honor to be re-elected to serve the people of the 27th Senate District and I look forward to a busy session. With a budget deficit of $2.2 billion, getting our fiscal house in order will be the highest priority...